J.C. Penney Co. plans to close up to 140 stores and two distribution centers in the coming months.
JCPenney will announce in mid-March which stores will be shuttered, according to a news release. The decision to offer about 6,000 buyouts and close stores comes after the company was profitable for the first time since 2010, but faces increasing competition from online retailers, the release said.
There are four JC Penney locations in Middle Georgia: Macon Mall, Dublin Mall, Houston County Galleria and Milledgeville Mall. The majority of the 130-140 store closings will occur in the second quarter of the year, the release said.
"We believe closing stores will also allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” JC Penney Chairman/CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement. “Maintaining a large store base gives us a competitive advantage in the evolving retail landscape since our physical stores are a destination for personalized beauty offerings, a broad array of special sizes, affordable private brands and quality home goods and services.”
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The retail company will offer early retirement packages for some of its employees.
“We understand that closing stores will impact the lives of many hard working associates, which is why we have decided to initiate a voluntary early retirement program for approximately 6,000 eligible associates,” Ellison said. “By coordinating the timing of these two events, we can expect to see a net increase in hiring as the number of full-time associates expected to take advantage of the early retirement incentive will far exceed the number of full-time positions affected by the store closures.”
The company will move a Lakeland, Florida, distribution center operations to the logistics facility in Atlanta. The company is also close to selling its supply chain facility in Buena Park, California, the release said.